Caouette has been documenting his life since he was 11 years old. With "Tarnation", he weaves a psychedelic whirlwind of snapshots, Super-8 home movies, answering machine messages, video diaries, early short films, snippets of '80s pop culture, and dramatic reenactments to create an epic portrait of an American family torn apart by dysfunction and reunited by the power of love. It begins in 2003 as Caouette learns of his mother’s lithium overdose. Faced with the haunting remnants of his past, including a family legacy of mental illness, abuse, and neglect, he returns home to aid in his mother’s recovery. Slipping back into the archives of his youth, we watch him grow up on camera, seeking escape from family trauma through musical theater, grade-B horror flicks and the forging of his identity through popular culture. He rekindles a touching relationship with another victim of a tumultuous childhood - his own mother.
Director: Jonathan Caouette